Quick Tips for Parents and Caregivers:

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        Even before teeth come in, you can take care of your child's mouth by cleaning his gums with a washcloth. Take your child for his first dental visit within six months of his first tooth, or by his first birthday.


        Help your preschooler brush her teeth at least twice a day (after breakfast and before bed) to keep them healthy and strong.


        Young children should brush their teeth for about 2 minutes. While brushing your child's teeth together, try playing some music or singing the ABC song four times to help him keep track of time.


        Look for children's toothbrushes with small heads and soft (or extra-soft) bristles. Help your child get excited about brushing by letting her choose the color.


        A little toothpaste goes a long way! Help children ages 2–5 add a pea-size amount to their toothbrushes. For children under 2, just a smear will do.


        Teeth love crunchy fruits and vegetables! With your child, try some tooth-friendly foods, such as apples, pears, carrots, or celery. What does each food sound like when you take a bite?


        Drinking water helps keep bodies healthy and strong. Water can also help wash food away from teeth if there isn't time to brush after a snack.


        It takes a team to keep teeth healthy. Visit your dental office twice a year and stay in touch with your child's primary-care physician and nurse.


        Talk with your child about the grown-ups who can help him take care of his teeth: the doctor, nurse, dentist, hygienist…and you!


        If it's hard to visit a dental office because of cost or distance, check online or ask your local health department about mobile dental clinics or low-cost services near you.